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Congress today alleged in the Gujarat Assembly that the state government wasn't allocating enough funds for minority communities, a charge the ruling BJP denied.
During question hour, senior Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar sought details of allocation of funds for the "development of minority communities" in the last two years.
In his written reply, Social Justice Minister Atmaram Parmar said Rs 119.23 crore were allocated in 2015-16 budget, and Rs 33.78 crore were spent. In 2016-17 Rs 35.84 crore were allocated and the expenditure was Rs 33.17 crore as of December.
When Parmar and other Congress MLAs questioned the drastic reduction in allocation of funds, the minister said the Central funds were now going to the students directly.
"From 2014-15 the Centre started depositing scholarship amounts directly into the bank accounts of students of minority communities. That is the reason the state allocation and expenditure decreased," said Atmaram Parmar.
Another Congress MLA, Gyasuddin Shaikh, said the funds were cut even as Jains got the status of minority community.
"This is not about only Muslims, Jains have also been given the status of minority...Our Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is a Jain. So even after addition of a community, we have curtailed the funds instead of increasing," he said.
Speaker Ramanlal Vora, who was in charge of Social Justice when he was a minister, intervened, and said the spending appeared to be less because the Centre changed its policy after the state government made the allocation.
"After the government made the allocation, Centre decided to deposit scholarship amounts directly. As a result we have not spent on that part," said Vora.
Minister Atmaram Parmar said the figures in his reply reflected the allocation of both state and the Centre.
"Allocation of Rs 119 crore for 2015-16 consists of Rs 26 crore by the state and Rs 93 crore by the Centre. Due to Centre's (changed) policy, we spent only (about) 34 crore," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)